SKS Microfinance Ltd has joined hands with IBM MobileFirst to enhance the use of technology in its lending operations and make processes paperless.
The partnership aims at reducing the time consumed in completing loan disbursal-related transactions and increasing staff productivity and customer acquisition.
The solution includes provision and deployment of 7,000 tablets across India (mainly rural and semi-rural), a help desk to manage these devices and software and services such as IBM MobileFirst Device Procurement and Deployment Services and IBM’s MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services to transform from paper-based to mobile digital services.
“Each loan officer now saves approximately one-and-a-half hours and serves more members per day. The Sangam manager, who heads a centre, is able to do six centre meetings per day as against the earlier five, registering a 20% increase in field productivity and reducing concomitant costs,” SKS said in a statement.
A centre meeting, where women borrowers who are part of a group come together to discuss the progress in utilising the loans and making repayments, takes around 45 minutes to conclude. But with the new technology, SKS has been able to bring down the time to 30 minutes.
The company has 5,456 loan officers operating out of 1,135 branch offices. A loan officer typically acquires new members, disburses loans and collects repayments.
To keep a track of loans, the field staff had so far used manual and paper-based processes which were then fed in shared branch computers. The field officers are now equipped with tablets to conduct these operations.
“This was a time-consuming process. The new technology has led to a turn-around on loan application and disbursal process. We have significantly reduced the time required to input information and reduce fatigue among loan officers,” said M.R. Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SKS.
SKS now has 4.5 million low-income women borrowers in all the states except Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The cumulative disbursement is at around $7 billion in loans and the current loan outstanding is $833 million as of September-end.